Dec 3, 2009

Depression 5 > Indention

I think I'm starting to turn a corner on this. Last night I had a great class with my instructors who were both really supportive. Hot Chocolate from the kitchen helped too. It's rare to find such people who are veritable scholars AND compassionate friends.

In fact, one event was a poignant salve for my soul.

I don't usually like taking verses out of context, but the juxtaposition of our study of Amos and my context was just too meaningful. My faith crisis began Thanksgiving night when we were driving between relatives' houses. I looked up at the sky and saw ORION and one of those "I wonder if there really is a God who made all this?" thoughts leaped into me and wouldn't shake loose. As much as I can tell, I think that really might have been THE instigation of all this existential crisis and depression. So when I heard Mark read this:

"He who made the Pleiades and ORION, who turns darkness into dawn, and darkens day into night ..." Am. 5:8

I couldn't help but get a little emotional. As far as I'm concerned, God spoke straight to me last night, and He did it thru my instructors. Our studies at PSI are so much more than just great intellectual pursuit - they are a steady comfort for me. I was made acutely aware of it again when we walked into the library with Joey. Just being in the presence of so much great Godly knowledge was soothing.

After class I felt great and stayed up for a while writing, then praying for some people who have shared some of their own depression stories with me. I fell asleep around 12:30 pretty easily.

I woke up a bit too early (6am) and in a bit of the familiar funk, though not as anxious, which was good. I let the dogs out and fed them. I got on facebook and emails a bit. I decided to go do a weight workout. I could tell I'm not as strong as I was last time - probably the lack of sleep and nutrition.

After the workout, I went home to shower, but instead I bawled my eyes out like I've never cried before. It was loud and messy crying, for no particular reason. I'm talking crying that scared my dogs. For a good 5 minutes or so. I finally pulled myself into the shower and headed out to the appointment. On the way there, I did something I never normally do: I turned on "Christian" radio. Immediately, this song started: Rediscover You by Starfield. It made me feel better and made me keep the station on for a good part of the day.

My appointment went well. I'm a model of health, physically, except for the funky appetite and sleeping, which is messing up my metabolism a bit. The doc asked if I wanted to try anti-depressants and I said I'd rather not if I can help it. But I did take a prescription for sleeping medicine in case I have more rough nights in the future. Just explaining my symptoms helped. I'm looking forward to my psychiatric appointment on Monday. Looking forward to things helps, so here's an exercise one of my instructors suggested ...

10 things that bring me joy:

  1. When my wife touches me because she knows I need it.

  2. When Clover laughs at me; also when she poops while looking at me.

  3. Talking openly and honestly to friends and family

  4. Having people over to the house

  5. Hot Chocolate

  6. Sharing good beer

  7. Buying things for others

  8. Peaceful sleep

  9. A good workout

  10. Knowing that the whole world doesn't feel bad when I do

  11. (BONUS) Productive work

I really feel like my spiritual and mental anxiety are passing. I still feel emotionally down, but this feels more like previous "downs" I've had. I can remember the deeper painful thoughts and feelings, but they don't send me into despair anymore. They've left an impression on me, but I don't feel them depressing me now.

Going to do dinner, a party, and some gaming tonight with friends and family, and planning on getting some good sleep too, one way or another! ;)


Kristi said...

Wow, I've just followed these posts on depression, and I'm reminded of something you told me in an email. You wrote that you are always amazed that things you read about, I actually live. I think you are living some of it as well. As a depression sufferer for 27 years, I can tell you that it's a miserable existence, but you learn to cope.

Having a child is scary. You lose much of your identity in that small being. She is the center of the world, not you. There is an identity crisis that comes with parenthood. And there is a huge burden of responsibility.

Depression is very real. And it is very connected to anxiety. They feed each other. You are normal to experience it. You are normal to have a breakdown.

You have helped me tremendously and your insight is amazing. I hope you know that.

FHL_Always said...

I haven't read your blog in a while, but I am glad to read that you are doing better and especially that you are voicing your issues and not isolating yourself like I did. As you may have read in my blog, I was going through a quarter life crisis that I believe I am now beginning to move past, thank God.

But, like you, I also felt the depression and anxiety enter into my spirituality. I became so cynical and angry at's still something that I'm trying to get over. I've probably been to Agora only twice in the last four or five months...but I'm trying to pray more and be thankful for everything I have.

What really helped me is the combination of therapy and antidepressants. Depression is hereditary for some. My mother has it, Haley has it, my grandmother has suffered from it her entire life. My therapist told me that antidepressants help change your brain chemistry if it is off - and mine was very off. I was extremely skeptical about being on the medication and I was worried that it would change my personality - but really it helps me think clearly, be less anxious and really just be normal. That combo really works for me -- I'm still doing both.

Anyway, I don't know why I wrote this necessarily other than to let you know that I know what you're going through and I'm glad you're getting better! :)

luke said...

Thank you both. I started a half dose of antidepressants and had a therapy session this morning. I'm starting to feel like I can deal with it now instead of just letting it deal with me.

I'll probably write another blog post soon.

Saint said...

lol at you taking pleasure from clover pooping while looking at you.

And glad you're still on the upward spiral. :)